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Extended Audio Sample The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics was Reborn, by Louisa Gilder Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (276 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Louisa Gilder Narrator: Walter Dixon Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2009 ISBN: 9781596594319
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A brilliantly original and richly illuminating exploration of entanglement, the seemingly telepathic communication between two separated particles—one of the fundamental concepts of quantum physics.

In 1935, in what would become the most cited of all of his papers, Albert Einstein showed that quantum mechanics predicted such a correlation, which he dubbed "spooky action at a distance."

In that same year, Erwin Schrödinger christened this spooky correlation "entanglement." Yet its existence wasn't firmly established until 1964, in a groundbreaking paper by the Irish physicist John Bell. What happened during those years and what has happened since to refine the understanding of this phenomenon is the fascinating story told here.

We move from a coffee shop in Zurich, where Einstein and Max von Laue discuss the madness of quantum theory, to a bar in Brazil, as David Bohm and Richard Feynman chat over cervejas. We travel to the campuses of American universities—from J. Robert Oppenheimer's Berkeley to the Princeton of Einstein and Bohm to Bell's Stanford sabbatical—and we visit centers of European physics: Copenhagen, home to Bohr's famous institute, and Munich, where Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli picnic on cheese and heady discussions of electron orbits.

Drawing on the papers, letters, and memoirs of the 20th century's greatest physicists, Louisa Gilder both humanizes and dramatizes the story by employing their own words in imagined face-to-face dialogues. Here are Bohr and Einstein clashing, and Heisenberg and Pauli deciding which mysteries to pursue. We see Schrödinger and Louis de Broglie pave the way for Bell, whose work here is given a long overdue revisiting. And with his characteristic matter-of-fact eloquence, Richard Feynman challenges his contemporaries to make something of this entanglement.

In this stunning debut, Gilder has found a wholly original way of bringing to life a tale of physics in progress.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A sparkling, original book…Gilder brings the reader into a mix of ideas and personalities handled with a verve reminiscent of Jeremy Berstein’s scientific portraits in the New Yorker…What had been for generations a story of theoretical malcontents now intrigues spooks and start-ups. All this radiates from Louisa Gilder’s story. Quantum physics lives.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Gilder] displays an ability to capture a personality in a few words.”

    Washington Post

  • “Captivating…A movingly human and surprisingly accessible picture of the unveiling of the quantum universe…Admirably lucid.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Highly entertaining…Hard to put down…Gilder is a fine storyteller who brings to life one of the great scientific adventures of our time.”

    American Scientist

  • “A witty, charming, and accurate account of the history of that bugaboo of physics—quantum entanglement…There are many books out there on the history or foundations of quantum mechanics. Some are more technical, others more historical, but none take the unique approach that Gilder has—to focus on the quantum weirdness of entanglement itself as her book’s unifying theme and to present it in an inviting and accessible way…Delightful.”

    Science

  • “A delightfully unconventional history…Especially enjoyable are the portraits of the less famous physicists…Gilder has done her homework.”

    Nature

  • “[A] fascinating yarn…For anyone who wants to understand the human angle of modern physics and separate quirks from quarks, this is your book.”

    Providence Journal

  • “Astonishing…The courage and even audacity of a nonscientist to investigate the evolution of ideas about the most esoteric aspects of quantum physics are truly remarkable…Gilder is a phenomenal writer.”

    Charleston Post & Courier

  • “The clearest and most intriguing history of the manner in which the scientific method continues to advance knowledge. An amazing story.”

    Sacramento News & Review

  • “An admirable, unexpected book, historically sound and seamlessly constructed, that transports those of us who do not understand quantum mechanics into the lives and thoughts of those who did.”

    George Dyson, author of Darwin Among the Machines

  • “Louisa Gilder disentangles the story of entanglement with such narrative panache, such poetic verve, and such metaphorical precision that for a moment I almost thought I understood quantum mechanics.”

    Matt Ridley, author of Genome

  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arthur | 2/10/2014

    " An excellent book on the historical development of quantum theory and "quantum entanglement". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zac | 2/7/2014

    " A personal look at the scientists who helped to develop quantum theory & the world into which it emerged. One interesting aspect is the effect of misguided political ideology on scientific discovery, both on the part of the Nazis pre-war & the anti-soviet hysteria in the USA after. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 2/4/2014

    " Wonderful look at the world of quantum physicists "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave Reynolds | 1/29/2014

    " This book got good reviews as a history of particle physics. I'm not overly impressed with the writing style and Edge Physics is proving to be a compelling read, so I've kind of drifted off on this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Grace | 1/29/2014

    " Although I was familiar with most of the physics discussed on this book, it gave me a new perspective on the evolution of physics during the last century. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremy | 1/14/2014

    " A great book about the development of quantum physics and the personalities who moved the science along. It's not a light read because it's long, not because it's a heavy read. But I would recommend it if you're interested in the subject. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard Anderson | 1/6/2014

    " Detailed, nontechnical study of the birth of quantum physics. As humanistic a slant as you're likely to get; sections on the Early Founders especially involving. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 lucas | 1/5/2014

    " It's nice that someone has treated the intricate and interesting history of quantum mechanics as completely as Gilder. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mary Jordan Samuel | 12/21/2013

    " I guess I just don't get quantum physics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 bekah | 12/15/2013

    " One of the most fascinating NF books I've ever read. A little dense, though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeffrey | 12/9/2013

    " did not understand all of it, but able to love all of it. great portraiture of the personalities of genius. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 12/3/2013

    " The miracle of this book is that the author makes reading about quantum physics (any physics!) interesting, amazing, and available to MY brain! Well done, Louisa Gilder. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tejas | 10/25/2013

    " lot of stories in the begining, the key updates are only in last 10% of the book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jacques | 10/20/2013

    " An excellent walk-through the history of quantum physics genesys together with lively comments from the masters of physics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 7/25/2013

    " Dense book with tons of information, but written in a more engaging style than you would typically see in a book discussing quantum physics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 7/13/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed the audio book edition of Gilder's "The Age of Entanglement." I have heard the great names for any decades, but this book put a face and some flesh on the manikin. Great stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gendou | 3/22/2013

    " Some boring history stuff, but also some exciting quantum mechanics stuff. The author does takes a lot of artistic license and partially fictionalizes certain conversations. It's OK. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 1/15/2013

    " Brilliant recounting of the development of quantum mechanics. Gripping at times and confusing at others, anyone who enjoyed their HS Physics class will love this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 3/19/2012

    " Well told story with lots about the people involved. Louisa Gilder develops the problem of entanglement, and at the end you say, "Dang! Information really can be transmitted faster than the speed of light!" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nilesh | 12/21/2011

    " A good first half that fails to lift itself to make any distinctive mark in the second. The scientific issues behind Entanglement are quite inadequately explained. That said, the book does bring up the philosophical issues behind various quantum explanations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 4/11/2011

    " Brilliant recounting of the development of quantum mechanics. Gripping at times and confusing at others, anyone who enjoyed their HS Physics class will love this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 3/21/2011

    " Well told story with lots about the people involved. Louisa Gilder develops the problem of entanglement, and at the end you say, "Dang! Information really can be transmitted faster than the speed of light!" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sahar | 2/3/2011

    " Too much history and too little science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave | 4/16/2010

    " This book got good reviews as a history of particle physics. I'm not overly impressed with the writing style and Edge Physics is proving to be a compelling read, so I've kind of drifted off on this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arthur | 4/3/2010

    " An excellent book on the historical development of quantum theory and "quantum entanglement". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 3/11/2010

    " did not understand all of it, but able to love all of it. great portraiture of the personalities of genius. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 lucas | 1/2/2010

    " It's nice that someone has treated the intricate and interesting history of quantum mechanics as completely as Gilder. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ned | 12/13/2009

    " Gripping. Like Tom Holland's Rubicon for quantum physics. But don't read it until you've introduced yourself to quantum physics, or you'll be lost; she's not an explainer like Douglas Hofstadter of GEB. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gendou | 10/27/2009

    " Some boring history stuff, but also some exciting quantum mechanics stuff. The author does takes a lot of artistic license and partially fictionalizes certain conversations. It's OK. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 5/12/2009

    " Very interesting "dramatic" re-telling of the history of quantum theory "

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